Astra units drive down Jardine C&C's profit

Direct motor interests yielded a profit of US$78 million, 13 per cent up on last year, with Singapore motor operations seeing sales rise.
Direct motor interests yielded a profit of US$78 million, 13 per cent up on last year, with Singapore motor operations seeing sales rise.ST FILE PHOTO

Half-year profit down 9% to $439m as Indonesian division copes with tough conditions

Challenging conditions, especially in Indonesia, weighed on half-year earnings at conglomerate Jardine Cycle & Carriage.

Net profit for the six months to June 30 slid 9 per cent to US$328 million (S$439 million) due largely to lower earnings in automotive group Astra's financial services and heavy equipment and mining businesses.

The revenue contribution from Astra's Toyota sales also fell after a two-tiered distribution model was introduced at the start of the year.

Revenue for the first half declined 6 per cent to US$7.7 billion.

Astra reported a net profit equivalent to US$530 million under Indonesian accounting standards, 12 per cent down in its reporting currency.

  • AT A GLANCE

    PROFIT: US$328 million (-9%)

    REVENUE: US$7.7 billion (-6%)

    DIVIDEND PER SHARE: 18 US cents (unchanged)

The group's net income for the period fell despite higher automotive profits that benefited from new model launches as weak commodity prices adversely affected its heavy equipment, mining contracting and agribusiness operations.

In addition, a significant increase in loan-loss provisions at Permata Bank led to a lower contribution from financial services.

Permata Bank, Astra's 45-per- cent-held joint venture, reported a net loss of US$62 million in the period, compared with a net income of US$64 million in the first half of last year. Loan-loss provisions jumped significantly as non-performing loans rose to 4.6 per cent from 2.7 per cent at the end of 2015.

"The challenges affecting Astra's businesses in the first half are likely to persist for the remainder of the year, although steady performances are expected from its consumer finance and automotive operations," said chairman Ben Keswick.

Competitive pressures will also continue to affect other parts of the business, such as the group's direct motor interests, he noted.

Direct motor interests produced a profit of US$78 million in the first half of the year, 13 per cent up on the previous year.

In Vietnam, Truong Hai Auto Corporation's earnings increased due to higher unit sales, although margins declined due to competitive pressures, the company said.

Profits in the Singapore motor operations also rose, thanks to growth in sales of new cars and used cars.

The group's other interests - comprising 24.9-per-cent-held Siam City Cement Public Company in Thailand and 23-per-cent-held Refrigeration Electrical Engineering Corporation in Vietnam - contributed US$15 million, 29 per cent higher than the previous year.

This was mainly due to the incorporation of a half-year's results from Siam City Cement Public Company, compared to three months in 2015 following the acquisition of a stake in the firm in April of that year.

Earnings per share came in at 83 US cents for the period, down from 98 US cents a year ago, while net asset value per share for the six months ended June 30 was US$14.05, up from US$13.07 last year. The company declared an interim dividend of 18 US cents per share.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2016, with the headline 'Astra units drive down Jardine C&C's profit'. Print Edition | Subscribe